In a recent post, Pat Ripley of VtSBDC laid out some of the reasons why it is important to have a Facebook presence. In addition to the ability it affords businesses of reaching more customers and nonprofits of reaching more interested people, it is also a signal to either type of consumer that they are dealing with a savvy and forward-thinking company. When I see a dynamic Facebook page, I know that an organization is interesting enough to engage with its consumers, which means I would be that much more likely to engage with it myself.

That being said, having a Facebook page for the sake of having one will not help your organization, and in fact may end up hurting it. It might even be better to have no page at all than to have a page where the last post was from 2 years ago, or where the posts do not encourage any form of engagement.

In order to incorporate social media into your organization’s outreach plan, it is important to recognize that this is a form of media that is social. In other words, you want to create engagement with your fans, and hopefully attract new fans in the process. You want to find content that garners likes, responses and shares. You also want to post content that represents your values. So, for example, a video of a kitten playing with a hedgehog may garner multiple shares, but unless you run a pet shop, it might not be the wisest or most relevant of posts for your organization, and will do little to differentiate you from the crowd. Instead, try posting a photo of something your organization is doing, or a video related to your cause or brand. Keeping content relevant doesn’t mean only posting about your own organization, so find other people’s content that you feel speaks to you and your audience as well as creating your own original content.

What is the value of a Facebook Like?

There has been some discussion around our office about the sad number of likes that our Facebook page has. It’s true. We’re currently at 63 likes, which, for being six months into a project, is not a tremendous amount. There are many options that we are considering for improving our reach, but in the meantime there are also a few things to consider about likes in general.

In the past few months, a lot of research has been published about the monetary value of a Facebook like. Depending on which research you read, each like’s value (both in terms of extra money from a customer for a business, and in terms of extra donations for a nonprofit) can range from $0 to $214 (you can read more about these studies here.) That being said, there are many companies that have millions of likes but that might not have the level of engagement or response that makes these likes valuable to the company.

It’s not about the quantity of likes, it’s about the quality

The goal of Facebook is to engage with people who currently know about your organization and to hopefully expand your reach while showcasing your individuality and style. The goal of a like is to increase that reach.

The more likes you have, the more likely you are to extend your reach further. It shows that more people have thought enough about your brand to say to themselves, “yeah, I don’t mind showing all of my friends that I like this brand.” However, not all likes are alike.  An article about a 2012 study of 1,000 Facebook users said that “46 percent have liked a brand that they have no intention of buying from, and of those, 52 percent liked a brand just to get a free item.” In other words, likes do not necessarily translate into action or benefit for your brand.

Instead, you want to look at the other Facebook statistics available to you. In the “insights” section of your Admin Panel, you will be able to see likes vs. engagement, and you can have a look at each of your posts’ reach. Facebook has an algorithm that determines whether and how any post will appear in one’s timeline, so your goal is to create interesting content that will not only show up on many people’s timelines (“reach”), but also get these users to click on your post (“engagement”) and hopefully get them to “like” your post or add a comment to it (“talking about this.”) These users are helping you to spread the word, and they are interested in what you are saying. These are the fans of your page that you should really count. Focus on creating sharable content, and if the engagement is high, even if your overall page likes are still low, you are succeeding.

Did you like this article? Then consider liking our page (and engaging with our content) on Facebook as well! We’ll post more interesting content like this as well as updates about the program on there!